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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Edible Plants
Title: Gardening books for Austin and Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm looking for a book for my wife. She is a beginning gardener here in Austin. Do you know of an ideal book or two that covers vegetable gardening and gardening in general in Austin/Central Texas? Thanks!

ANSWER:

The Travis County Master Gardeners Asociation publishes Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity that would be an excellent resource for a beginning Austin gardener. It has month-by-month instructions on what to plant and what you should be doing (fertilizing, watering, etc.). There is also a list of "Outstanding Native & Adapted Landscape Plants", information about water conservation and much, much more. This may be exactly what you are looking for but you may also want to consider some other books to supplement this one.

The following books are excellent for choosing plants and planning landscapes using exclusively native plants and, after all, native plants are what we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Native Texas Gardens: Maximum Beauty, Minimum Upkeep by Sally and Andy Wasowski 2003

Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region by Sally and Andy Wasowski 2002

Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas by. G. O. Miller 2006

How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest by Jill Nokes 2001


The next set of books do have native plants, but also have non-native cultivated plants (such as vegetables) that grow well here, as well as helpful suggestions and useful information (e.g., average dates for first and last frosts) for gardening in Texas.

Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide by Dale Groom 2002

Month-by-Month Gardening in Texas by Dan Gill and Dave Groom 2006

Texas Gardening the Natural Way: The Complete Handbook by Howard Garrett 2004

New Central Texas Gardener by C. Hazeltine and B. Lovelace 1999

Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas by Howard Garrett 1996

Many of these books are available for sale in the Wild Ideas store at the Wildflower Center. Here are our hours of operation and directions to the Center. We would love to have you visit.

 

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